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501 Hebrew Verbs, Second Edition

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501 Hebrew Verbs, Second Edition

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501 Hebrew Verbs, Second Edition
(Barron's Foreign Language Guides)
By Shmuel Bolozky, Ph.D.
Barron's Educational Series (2008)
ISBN: 978-0-7641-3748-8

Reviewed by Boris Segel - September 16, 2014

If you are a serious student of Hebrew, and you read English already, do yourself a favor - get yourself a copy of 501 Hebrew Verbs, 2e, by Shmuel Bolozky. I've seen some people recommend that you not get this book until you are a second year, or higher student, but I say, if you can afford it, get this book as early in your studies as you can. I for one found it invaluable starting around the end of my first semester of college level Hebrew, when I started to look for reading material outside of the textbook, and have been using it ever since.

To be honest, this is a boring book, but one that will come in handy when you need to see how a verb is conjugated, especially for those verbs that do not follow a standard format. Despite the title, the second edition of this book contains 565 fully conjugated verbs. The verbs are presented in alphabetical order - based upon their two, three, or four letter verb roots. In addition, colloquial and uncommon usages of the verbs are also indicated. Often the author has included sample sentences or notes, highlighting the unique usage or meaning of the verbs, including their usage as verbal nouns.

Each entry in this book begins with the root of the verb followed by a translation and related verb forms. This is followed by the paradigms that show the verb conjugated in all its various tenses. When applicable, less common usages and examples are listed. Throughout, all vowel marks are displayed. The verbs selected for inclusion in this book were chosen by word frequency research conducted using newspapers such as Haaretz and Maariv, as well as some literary and academic works. It is unlikely that you will find every verb you may want to look up in this book, but the selection presents a fair representation of some of the most common verbs used in Israel.

501 Hebrew Verbs assumes that the reader is already familiar with the Hebrew alphabet and has at least a passing familiarity with the binyamin (Hebrew verb structures). In addition to the alphabetical entries, there is also a semi-useful index that allows you to look up the English meaning of a verb and it then directs you to the Hebrew verb root. I say semi-useful because the way the English words are listed, even if you know the meaning of the root you are looking for, you may have trouble finding its English equivalent. The book also includes an index of the roots included in the text, as well as a Hebrew-English index of the verbs listed in the masculine third person, past tense format.

While not a book that most people would want to take to the beach to read, it is an excellent and helpful reference book for all serious students of both modern and biblical Hebrew.

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